The language of change management

I was reminded in a conversation this week about how excited I am to see the language of change management disappear. Not because it is not important or because we don’t need the help, but because we’ve fully digested the fact that change is not something to be managed. Or planned. But rather, that it is constant. It will have become part of how we operate. And someday the effort we give to managing a change like a new website, will be unconscious. Of course, this will be because of all the good work that the language of change management does today!

Summer dress codes

Ah, yes, summer is back. For many HR professionals that means dress code conversations. Depending on the workplace, this may include chats about flip flops, short shorts, baseball hats, tank tops, and I’m sure other clothing items. Sometimes, clothing impacts our business in a real, tangible way. Maybe for those forward facing with customers. Maybe for those who need to consider health and safety. But, for many others, we’re bringing our own standards of dress to the workplace. Sometimes, the work is what matters. Imagine what might be possible if we weren’t hung up on flip flops and short shorts. Imagine if we were hung up on outcomes, results and metrics. Just saying.

Can you cry at work?

Over the past few years, I’ve done a 180 on shows of emotion at work. I started my career thinking that feelings and emotions were best left at home. Or at the very least, in the bathroom stall.

I have come to think about people as a whole. If we expect people to give their best, be high performers, we have to expect them to be people. People have bad days. People are happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited, well, you get the idea. I have come to think that we need to give people the opportunity to be themselves. Their whole selves.

For some people, that means crying when they feel happy, sad, frustrated, or angry. You can cry at work! Because it means you are engaged at work. It means you care. It means you care so much that you are getting frustrated. Let it out!

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is only half the battle. Welcoming a diverse population to the workplace is just the beginning. If those people are not included in the workplace, we lose out on the point of diversity. The argument behind diversity is to strengthen business with the different opinions and viewpoints that different people bring. But so often, workplaces demonstrate diversity without the benefits of what different people bring to the table.

It’s not enough to have female representation or people from different cultures, if we don’t listen to them, we miss their valuable contributions.

Include the diversity you’ve worked so hard to create.

Know your culture

When it comes to making changes, so often we, in HR, use change management techniques we’ve learned along the way. Typically a set that we’ve grown to feel comfortable with. Sometimes that works. But other times, we fail and are left wondering why. We followed the same steps we used in the last change or in the last company.

I think the missing element is weighing our corporate culture when deciding how to change manage. How open is the company to change? How quickly do they adapt to change? How big of a change can they swallow in one bite?

And we take that one step further by asking about the appetite for the change in our culture. Some changes are far more welcome than others and that will vary by organization.

By taking a minute and asking these questions, we can create a successful change management plan.

New year, new resolutions

It’s that time of year when many people start to think of change. Some that stick and some that don’t. Okay, lots that don’t stick.

But, how many people make a resolution, or two, about work? We spend so much time at work, we should think about bringing some resolutions to work. Approaching things differently can yield results you might not have seen before. Maybe it’s about a sales pitch, or a spreadsheet, or a relationship with a coworker.

What can you resolve to do differently this year?

Benefit Renewal Time

Many of us in HR have been spending the past few weeks fielding calls from benefits brokers soliciting our business as April draws closer and renewal time is here. Of course, we can change our plans at any time but we’ve been conditioned to review our plans around this time of year.

This year we’re hearing about changes to paramedical benefit limits and drug maximums. But the basic structure remains. The few insurance companies don’t seem too interested in innovation or creativity yet. But there’s hope as other smaller, more agile benefit companies continue to blossom.

I leave you with this gem. Manulife still requires changes by fax. Yes, fax. Hurry up, innovation!

Holiday Parties

It’s that time of the year again. When Holidays Parties are all around us. It can be hard as the HR professional to balance your compulsion to protect people with the desire to make sure everyone has a good time. It’s a hard spot to be in. You have to be the fun police for some people while other people will appreciate you trying to keep them safe. Remember that you’re there to do a job. Just as the finance professional in there to make sure the party follows the budget. Make sure that you take some time to sit back, relax and enjoy the party.

Customer Service dictated by Lifetime Value

What kind of customer service should you be providing to your customers?

There are a few different ways to answer that question. But one way is to work with your customer’s lifetime value. While it can be tempting to provide over the top customer service, it might not make financial sense. Adding in the customer service costs to cost of goods can ensure that you provide support you can afford.

Customer Service is important. I’m not advocating that we forget that, but rather we provide the best customer service we affordably can.

References Shmeferences

When will the madness end? Why are we continuing to ask for and contact three references? When was the last time you called a reference who gave you a negative review?

First, the references provided to you are people who both endorse and like the candidate. Otherwise, the candidate would not have provided their name and number to you.

Second, in Canada we are essentially not permitted to provide negative references for fear of repercussion.

On occasion a reference may provide you with some insight in to management tips for the candidate.  But most of the conversation is going to be glowing commentary.

For a true reference, check your network and see if you are connect to the person. Getting some hiring advice that way is much more fruitful and useful.